Skip to main content
Skip to main content

WKU News

Sleepy? Your memory may be impaired

Everyone has had one of those days where a night of choppy or short sleep leads into a morning of mental haze. New research presented at the Neuroscience 2012 conference suggests that sleep deprivation might be worse for you than you think.

For starters, sleepiness in the elderly could be an indication of Alzheimer's risk, says Andrew Ward, researcher at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Ward and colleagues did a study involving 84 elderly adults without memory problems, ranging from age 66 to 87. Researchers gave them a questionnaire about how likely they were to fall asleep during various daily activities, as a way to measure sleepiness. They also measured brain activity using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI).Researchers found that the sleepy study participants tended to show less coordinated activity in the default mode network, brain regions that are active when the brain is resting and are involved in introspection.

This suggests that people with bad sleep may be more susceptible to Alzheimer’s, but "we need to do more research to see if this is actually true," Ward said. The next step would be to follow the participants over time to see who develops Alzheimer's in the long term. The study also suggests that improvements in sleep may restore network connectivity - but again, further investigation is necessary to make more substantial conclusions.

Elderly people generally sleep fewer hours and wake up more frequently during the night than their younger counterparts, Ward said. And reports from Alzheimer's caregivers suggest that people with worse sleep have more severe memory impairments.

A second study also emphasized the importance of getting a good night's sleep. Hengi Rao, a researcher at the University of Pennsylvania, presented an experiment involving sleep deprivation in a laboratory. Participants spent four nights in the lab as researchers controlled their number of sleeping hours, gave them memory tests and scanned their brains (doesn't that sound fun!).

The 22 healthy adults slept nine hours the first night, went 24 hours without sleeping, and then spent two nights gaining recovery sleep. Their brains were scanned after nights 1, 2 and 4.

After sleep deprivation, researchers found that participants showed less connectivity between the default mode network and the hippocampus, a region of the brain essential for memory. After recovery sleep, however, their brains showed the same activity as after that first night of nine hours of sleep. Their performance on memory tasks was correlated to the activity in these regions.

"It’s critical to obtain recovery sleep after sleep loss and avoid chronic sleep deprivation" in order for the brain to restore the integrity of this neural network, Rao said.

How much sleep loss are we talking about? Ted Abel of the University of Pennsylvania discussed a study he's involved with using mice. Of course, mice are not perfect approximations for humans, but may give some insight into what's going on in the human body. It turns out that mice show memory impairment after being deprived only about three hours of their normal sleep, which translates into 20% of their daily total.

If animal models are to be believed, memory strengthening can be affected in a human who sleeps six hours instead of eight hours, this study suggests.

Bottom line: Getting a good night's sleep is important for memory.

 

Source:  http://thechart.blogs.cnn.com/2012/10/17/sleepy-your-memory-may-be-impaired/

Categories
All News  Now Viewing Category: All
Media Relations
CEBS
CHHS News
GFCB
Ogden News
PCAL
Academic Affairs
WKU Regional Campuses
Glasgow News
Etown & Fort Knox
Owensboro News
Transportation
The Gatton Academy of Mathematics and Science in Kentucky
The Center for Gifted Studies
Police
Emergency Preparedness
Facilities
Housing & Residence Life
Student Activities and Organizations
Augenstein Alumni Center
Campus Activities Board
The Confucius Institute
Cultural Enhancement Series
DELO News
Department of Music
Department of Theatre & Dance
Development and Alumni Relations
Downing Museum
Downing Student Union
Employee Wellness
Hardin Planetarium
Health Services
Human Resources News
Instruments of American Excellence
International Student Office
Kinesiology, Recreation & Sport
Library News
Math News
Office of International Programs
Office of Research
Office of Sustainability
Parent's Association
School of Journalism & Broadcasting
Student Financial Assistance
Scholarships Student Financial Assistance
Student Employment
Student Government Association News
Student Research Council
Study Abroad
Van Meter Auditorium
WellU
WKU Educational Leadership Doctoral Program News
WKU Joint Admissions
WKU Parent and Family Weekend
Latest Headlines
WKU's KY Folklife Program to host Rural-Urban Exchange cohort

The Kentucky Folklife Program, housed in WKU’s Department of Folk Studies & Anthropology in Bowling Green, is serving as a regional host partner for the 2017 Rural-Urban Exchange Community Intensive.

Welcome May New Hires!

WKU Top Life welcomes our newest employees, hired in May 2017.

Gatton Academy students conducting summer research in South Korea

Two Gatton Academy of Mathematics and Science in Kentucky students are spending their summer completing research internships in South Korea. The 10-week internships are in the Chemistry Department of Changwon National University.

Featured Articles
Gatton Academy students conducting summer research in South Korea

Two Gatton Academy of Mathematics and Science in Kentucky students are spending their summer completing research internships in South Korea. The 10-week internships are in the Chemistry Department of Changwon National University.

With Spirit Funder support, WKU Storm Chasers documented multiple tornadoes

This year for Dr. Josh Durkee’s annual Field Methods in Weather Analysis and Forecasting class, the students had some extra support in the form of WKU’s new crowdsource funding project, Spirit Funder.

Board of Regents to hold special budget approval, committee meetings June 23

The WKU Board of Regents will hold a special budget approval meeting and committee meetings on June 23 in the Martin Regents Room, Jody Richards Hall.

Note: documents in Portable Document Format (PDF) require Adobe Acrobat Reader 5.0 or higher to view,
download Adobe Acrobat Reader.

Note: documents in Excel format (XLS) require Microsoft Viewer,
download excel.

Note: documents in Word format (DOC) require Microsoft Viewer,
download word.

Note: documents in Powerpoint format (PPT) require Microsoft Viewer,
download powerpoint.

Note: documents in Quicktime Movie format [MOV] require Apple Quicktime,
download quicktime.

 
 Last Modified 5/2/17